Friday, May 22, 2009

Fire Chief presents citizen's award

Fire Chief Greg Bulanow presented De'Angelo Gadson-Ward with a citizen’s award for his actions at his Hunter’s Ridge Apartment Complex. Battalion Chief Eric Philips said, “his courageous actions saved the family’s home and possibly the entire apartment building.” De’Angelo sprung into action after he spotted fire from two burning couches moving toward the roofline of the apartments.

De’Angelo first warned all of his neighbors to ensure their safety. He used a mop to move the burning couches away from a window before he grabbed a water hose to encounter the fire. Soaking of the roof and the couches were instrumental in limiting the spread of the fire. The North Charleston Fire Department arrived moments later.

It is important to note the recommendation of the North Charleston Fire Department is to notify the department and get to safety. Property can be replaced, lives cannot.

De’Angelo is a senior at Fort Dorchester High School and is thinking about applying for a position within the North Charleston Fire Department. Fire Chief Bulanow is expecting to see his application in the near future.

I praise De’Angelo’s for his actions to slow the fire and his awareness of the safety of others. This occasion allowed us to discover a hero.

The fire, started by a 6-year-old playing, could have been easily prevented if a juvenile would not have had access to a lighter. For children, interest in fire is natural. Setting fires is not. It can be deadly. Recent statistics show out of every 100 people who die in child set fires, 85 are other children.

The North Charleston Fire Department's Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program is committed to preventing future fire setting behavior. The program counsels children and their families about fire safety with the goal of stopping firesetting behavior. It is based on the United States Fire Administration, NFA, and Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Specialist Program.

For more information please contact the North Charleston Fire Department Fire Prevention Division at (843) 740-2647 or (843) 740-2646.


R. Keith Summey

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